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Jacksonville State University: A Discussion of Douglass’s Remarkable 1876 Eulogy of Lincoln

November 10, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

The Tocqueville Lecture Series at Jacksonville State University, a JMC partner program, will hold a hybrid in-person/virtual presentation and Q&A with Richard Ruderman on “Douglass’s Remarkable 1876 Eulogy of Lincoln”:

Why does Frederick Douglass remain such a challenge—to so many people across the political spectrum—today?

In the summer of 2020, a statue of Frederick Douglass in Rochester NY (where he had lived much of his adult life) was torn down. In her magisterial “re-centering” of American history—The 1619 Project—Hannah Nikole-Jones went further, making his whole career and life disappear. And much controversy surrounds a statue of Lincoln freeing a kneeling enslaved person, looking up at him in gratitude. That statue was unveiled in 1876, paid for by the (Black) Freedmen’s Association. It was at that event that Frederick Douglass was asked to give a eulogy of Abraham Lincoln, assassinated eleven years earlier by a white supremacist.

I seek to examine Douglass’s account of how he came to appreciate Lincoln’s statesmanship—which had, in the 1850s seemed “tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent.” This required Douglass to recognize, not only that Lincoln was “preeminently the white man’s President,” but that “measured by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.”

Thursday, November 10, 2022 • 5:30 PM CST
A hybrid in-person/virtual event • Jacksonville State University

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Richard Ruderman is an Associate Professor (and past Chair) in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Texas. He studies the history of political philosophy, specializing in classical Greek thought (Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle), Machiavelli, liberalism in Locke and Montesquieu, and Nietzsche. He also studies American political thought, especially in the leadership of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. He has published articles in major journals on Aristotle (on prudence), Homer (on individualism), democratic statesmanship, Locke on education, and (most recently) on “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural and the Problem of Justice” (American Journal of Political Science, Summer 2022). He has also published book chapters on Halevi’s Kuzari (on its critique of philosophy), Plato’s Republic (on tyranny), and Xenophon’s Memorabilia (on the problem of virtue).

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The Tocqueville Lecture Series at Jacksonville State University invites scholars, professionals, and civic leaders to present on the ideas of liberty and equality, as they relate to other concepts important in the founding and continuation of American government.

Learn more about the Tocqueville Lecture Series >>



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November 10, 2022
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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